There’s an episode of The West Wing in which we see the inside of an underdog Congressional campaign in California, based out of a defunct mattress store. Cubicles are formed out of queens and doubles stood on their ends. The campaign director, named Will, is a young politico and speech-writer trying to get attention in a district that usually votes the other way. Oh, and the candidate he’s promoting? He’s dead — killed by a heart-attack with just days to go before the vote.
A couple of little girls walk into the mattress store holding a sign they’ve made out of construction paper. They’re soon to hit the sidewalks, waving signs and getting out the vote. They hold up their creation for Will to see. He takes it and turns it around so they can see it.
“Nice work, girls, but do me a favor: read this out loud,” says Will.
The girls recite in unison, “It doesn’t matter who you vote for. Make sure you vote.”
“It’s a nice sentiment, but the thing is, I think it does matter who you vote for,” Will says. “What if it said, ‘No matter who you vote for, make sure you vote?'”
The girls quickly consider this, look at each other, and nod. “It works,” they say.
“Great. Thanks, ladies!”
I’m thinking of this today because I’m seeing TV ads from the Chambliss campaign and getting door-hangers from the Martin campaign. I’m sitting in the dentist’s office with a metal hook in my mouth, and there’s one politician painting another on the television. I’m watching a movie with my folks, who are in from out of town, and there’s a voice from an eager campaign staffer coming through my answering machine.
I think it matters who you vote for. A run-off is a real election. The candidates are in a run-off, but if you voted in November and you don’t vote again today, then you’ve, as they say, “runnoft.”